Born in Glasgow, Patrick Doyle has provided music for a significant number of British made films though by no means exclusively from these islands. Much of his music has been for director Kenneth Branagh, and this association has shaped the style of music we typically hear from Doyle. The relationship started with "Henry V" back in 1989 and has gone on to create a string of movies many being Shakespearean or literary classics including "Much Ado about Nothing", "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein", "Hamlet", "Love's Labour's Lost" and "Dead Again". The TV movie "Look Back in Anger" also boasted music by Doyle and starred Branagh, though this time directed by Judi Dench. Also among his non-Branagh work, we have classics like the Jane Austin "Sense and Sensibility" or the Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations", animation work like "Quest for Camelot" and more gritty stuff such as "Needful Things", "Dead Again" and the thriller "Carlito's Way".
Doyle fell ill with Leukemia shortly after his work on "Great Expectations", but the workaholic in him meant that he was still writing music in his hospital bed. One now well-known film to bear the name Patrick Doyle is "Bridget Jones' Diary". Although the soundtrack to this features mostly chart songs, there are some examples of Doyle's music in between. On "Gosford Park" though, Doyle was able to include a couple of his own songs among a number of Ivor Novello originals interwoven with the soundtrack. With the release of "Calendar Girls" and "Secondhand Lions" Doyle has proved himself to be one of the foremost British soundtrack composers, on films stretching from comedy through to drama. With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Doyle briefly took over from John Williams on the popular series about young wizards, referring only briefly to Williams' original theme.
Doyle has kept busy this past few years, renewing his association with Branagh and Shakespeare with "As You Like It", delving into more family movies with the original "Nanny McPhee" and the animation "Igor", and also visiting Fantasy Adventures with "Eragon", "The Last Legion" and "Nim's Island". Following his previous Fantasy scores, Doyle has now moved into the comic superhero world with the eagerly awaited blockbuster "Thor". For "Thor" Doyle worked again with Kenneth Branagh on the movie based on the Marvel superhero, which in turn is based on one of the Norse Gods of Viking mythology. The film is set partly in the contemporary world and partly in Asgard the home of the gods, and Doyle's music uses some contemporary sounds for the former and more traditional Wagnerian sounds for the latter though still ensuring that both form a coherent musical experience. The soundtrack is largely low-key using chord progressions against ostinato rhythms but becoming more emphatic as the situation demands. Thor is available from these links at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Note that the Foo Fighters' "Walk" used on the End Credits is not on the soundtrack album.
Doyle's latest score in what seems to be a very busy year for the composer is Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This looks to be an intelligent reboot of the whole Planet of the Apes franchise, using innovative motion capture techniques with Andy Serkis in the role of the lead ape "Caesar". With this project Doyle is again following in the footsteps of some of the cinema's greatest composers, Jerry Goldsmith (the original iconic movie with a ground-breaking avant-garde score) and Danny Elfman for the percussive score to Tim Burton's remake. Doyle's score is often dark and brooding with a feral edge, and with elements of African-influenced rhythms and electonic sounds, but it is also sympathetic to the animals' plight. This rewarding score can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Patrick Doyle's Scottish roots give him the ideal qualifications to score Brave, and his music is worth the wait.
There is Sheet Music available for Doyle's "Sense and Sensibility" which you can find online for piano, vocal and guitar chords at Sheet Music Plus. Although we can't find it online, there is also a book of piano arrangements by Jack Long of two Jane Austin films: "Sense and Sensibility" by Patrick Doyle and "Pride and Prejudice" by Carl Davis. A similarly themed book which is available online is called "Jane Austin's World" from Sheet Music Plus with "Sense and Sensibility", "Pride and Prejudice", "Emma" and "Persuasion".
Here is a selection of soundtrack CDs by Patrick Doyle:
Here are some CD covers signed by Patrick Doyle. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click any thumbnail below to see the image full size in a separate window.